Sunday, 8 March 2015

Worried About The Boy (2010)



After watching Friday night's BBC4 documentary Boy George and Culture Club: Karma to Calamity, which depicts the band's most recent and disastrous, farcical reunion attempt, I decided to revisit the excellent biopic, Worried About The Boy, from BBC2's 80s season back in 2010.



The boy in question is young George O'Dowd, a boy from a working class Irish family who, with his penchant for cross dressing and showing off, almost inadvertently helped shape the New Romantic fashion movement of the early 1980s before taking the pop world by storm with his band Culture Club, and the film explores these early days up until the band's disintegration. 



It's a big role for any actor, but Douglas Booth steps up to the plate ably, delivering a veritable tour de force that befits such a larger than life character full of flair, caustic wit and ambiguous sex appeal. Quite rightfully, it's a performance that secured much plaudits and marked Booth immediately down as 'one to watch'.



Naturally the film explores the curious, complex and difficult relationships George shared in his private life at this time, including his sexual affairs with two ostensibly straight contemporaries; Theatre of Hate and Spear of Destiny's Kirk Brandon (when this affair was subsequently recorded in Boy George's autobiography, Brandon attempted to prove him a liar and fantasist in court and that his version of events could greatly hinder Brandon's career, with people believing him to be ''a peroxide poof'' - a somewhat homophobic bid which ultimately failed) played by future Game of Thrones star Richard Madden, and most crucially his affair with Culture Club's drummer Jon Moss; an affair which continues to create ripples to this very day.  



Gavin and Stacey's Mathew Horne delivers an accomplished performance as Moss, a down to earth professional musician who is ultimately bewitched by the wholly original, unique George, leading to an ill fated, hesitant, stormy and somewhat adolescent crush-like love affair. It's such a shame that Horne's more unshowy, subtle career has been largely eclipsed by the arrogant posturing of his Gavin and Stacey co-star and show creator the noxious James Corden as, from his straight roles (no pun intended by the way!), Horne shows much promise.



But it's not just George's sexual relationships that take centre stage and there's a touching and tender exploration of the relationship with his somewhat bewildered but in no doubt devoted father played by Irish actor Francis Magee (it's worth pointing out that, in real life, George's father did not have the Irish brogue) It's perhaps this relationship that gives the production a satisfying and surprising sensitivity and depth, living up to its title and telling us a heartfelt story of fathers and sons. 




There's also some gems in the cast including Mark Gatiss as punk Svengali Malcolm McLaren, all bubble perm and high pitched intonations, Freddie Fox as Marilyn and a scene stealing tongue in cheek Marc Warren as Steve Strange, who sadly died last month, strutting across his domain, The Blitz Club.


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